A German public broadcaster has decided to make a choir of young girls sing a ‘very modern’ eco-friendly grandma-bashing song with a clear Greta Thunberg twist. What could possibly go wrong?
The German regional broadcaster WDR proudly presented a new video featuring the channel’s all-girl children’s choir.
“They can sing and they can be naughty,” read the announcement published on the WDR 2 Facebook page on Friday evening.
A minute and a half long footage demonstrated some three dozen young girls happily singing a remake of a German humorous song from the 1920s. Its text was updated to match the trends of 2019 lambasting an imaginary ‘grandma’ for allegedly excessive fuel burn rate and undue taste for meat.
The song has a refrain calling the unfortunate grandma “an old environmental pig” and features such unchildish lines as “My grandma drove a range rover to a doctor and ran over two grandpas with a rollator.”
The song ends with children, suddenly as grave as a judge, speaking in the voice of the teen climate change speaker Greta Thunberg warning the grown-up that they “will not let you get away with this.”
WDR staff apparently found the video funny. The channel’s news editor, Udo Stiehl, called it “scandalously good.”
Skandalös gut :-)) Für die @WDR2-Comedy wurde ein Kinderlied umgetextet: „Meine Oma ist ne alte Umweltsau.“ Humorlose Kritiker sind natürlich bereits in Schnappatmung verfallen und haben 17,50 Euro Blutdruck. Aber das gehört ja zur Folklore hier 🙂 https://t.co/HZW1no6mMv
— Udo Stiehl (@udostiehl) December 27, 2019
It seems, however, that the WDR audience saw it as “scandalous” rather than “good.” Some people rushed to social media to brand it “disrespectful” and “offensive” especially over the choice of the word “sau” which means pig, not of a Peppa kind, but rather “sow” and is used as a vulgar curse. Others went further and accused the broadcaster of turning children against their family members.
WDR initially sought to mitigate the scandal by declaring the controversial video ‘satire’ but was eventually forced to delete the footage altogether.
On Saturday, they also issued an apology and said that the channel “regrets that our satire has hurt the feelings of some members of our audience. That was not our intention.”
Their audience, however, appeared to be not satisfied with such a response and called WDR “liars” while demanding all those responsible for the scandalous video to be sacked. Many also doubted that the channel had any good intentions when it released the video in the first place.
Meine Oma war die allerbeste Oma der Welt und nie, nie, niemals würde ich meine Oma als Sau bezeichen.
Echt widerlich, was sich der #WDR da erlaubt hat.
Ihr spuckt jeder Omi ins Gesicht und missbraucht dafür die Enkelkinder.
Ihr solltet Euch in Grund und Boden schämen. Pfui. pic.twitter.com/Vmfv1wmkpQ
— Deichkind (@NordischbyNatur) December 27, 2019
“WDR 2 was making fun of the older generations and portrayed them as irresponsible CO2 sinners. Was it your contribution to conflict resolution? We can only hope that you do not try to mediate any other conflicts,” one person wrote in a comment section under the channel’s apology statement.
— Don Alphonso (@_donalphonso) December 28, 2019
Twitter, meanwhile, saw the battle over environment and generational cohesion taken to an entirely new level when an apparently disgruntled member of the WDR staff took to social media to tell all those dissatisfied with the children’s performance that their real grandparents were not “environmental pigs” but “Nazi pigs” instead.
Die WDR Hetze geht solangsam zuweit !!! Nurnoch widerlich und völlig daneben 🤦♂️ eine Beendigung der Zusammenarbeit wäre mehr als ratsam #Umweltsau #WDR @WDR2 @dannytastisch #MSM #HateSpeech #Deutschland #Nazisau #ZDF #ARD #DannyHollek #WDR2 pic.twitter.com/EjhmKt8dzw
— Marco R (@MarcoR25351858) December 28, 2019
The fact that some other WDR employees “liked” the provocative tweet only added fuel to the fire and sparked another wave of indignation.
At the same time, social media saw no shortage of self-described eco-activists coming to support the environmentalist cause and happily stating that their family members are indeed “environmental pigs.”
The new scandal comes just days after the German branch of Fridays For Future – an international movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg – found itself in hot water following what was described as another tasteless joke.
The group also jumped on the bandwagon of the generation-bashing spree and said in a tweet that grandparents do not have much to say to their descendants simply because “they won’t be around much longer.”
The movement was then quickly accused of being insensitive to those who lost their grandparents and disrespecting elderly people.